Having a good night’s sleep is crucial, no matter your age. However, the quality of sleep that you get can be even more important as you get older. When we sleep, our bodies recover and recuperate, preparing for the day ahead. Sleep deprivation means that you can’t get the energy that you need to handle the challenges that we face most days. Additionally, lost sleep can also increase your chances of mental health problems like dementia, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily, there 5 foods that can enhance your sleep.
While it’s common for sleeping patterns to change as you get older, the last thing you want is to lose out on sleep. According to some studies, 44% of older people experience one or more symptoms associated with insomnia. Fortunately, the food you eat can help.
Lean proteins are excellent to eat before bed because they won’t settle too heavily on your stomach, but they will give you the satisfied feeling that you need to drift off. Lean proteins are high in tryptophan, which boosts serotonin levels and promotes a better quality of sleep. If you’ve ever felt sleepy after turkey dinner, then you’ll know all about the impact that tryptophan can have.
If you don’t want to eat too much protein before sleep, you can try something small, like some peanut butter on a banana or egg on a piece of whole-grain toast.
Heart-healthy fats are something that all seniors should include in their diet as often as possible. Unsaturated fats are excellent for improving heart health while increasing serotonin levels at the same time. Peanut butter is a great example of this, so are cashews, almonds, walnuts, and avocados. Another healthy choice would be eating almonds, which are full of protein and magnesium. Magnesium is particularly good at promoting muscle relaxation when you’re having a hard time settling down for sleep. Just make sure that you avoid any trans fats or saturated fats, which can make your sleep more elusive.
Warm milk is a classic drink for most people who have trouble with insomnia. There’s a reason why experts recommend this beverage for people with relaxation issues. Milk, just like other dairy products, contains a healthy dose of tryptophan, which helps your nervous system to relax. Additionally, milk is a good source of calcium, which helps to regulate the production of melatonin. Warm milk combined with a spoonful of honey can be particularly soothing and can enhance your sleep. Just don’t use too much sugar, or you could end up staying awake because of the extra boost of energy.
Bananas or Cherries Enhance Your Sleep, Too
We already recommended peanut butter and bananas for one of our bedtime snacks, but bananas are also an excellent choice all on their own. One of the main reasons that bananas are so great for promoting sleep is that they come packed with magnesium and potassium. Those two substances are excellent for relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system. At the same time, for older people who have trouble with their teeth, bananas are a lot easier to eat than many other food items.
Sweet Potato Is One of 5 Foods That Can Enhance Your Sleep
According to Sleep.Report, it’s a good idea to avoid eating too many carbs before bed. However, some complex carbohydrates like mashed sweet potatoes can be an excellent bedtime treat. Along with grains like oatmeal and jasmine rice, sweet potato is great for increasing your levels of tryptophan and easing you off into a peaceful slumber. If you need a dose of extra fiber, you can always switch to oatmeal instead.